EU set to agree new Russia sanctions over Navalny's death

FILE PHOTO: Mourners come to grave of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny

BRUSSELS/PARIS (Reuters) - The European Union is set to agree sanctions on several people seen as involved in the mistreatment and death of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny in an Arctic penal colony, three diplomats said on Friday.

EU foreign ministers are likely to endorse the sanctions on Monday, the day after the end of a three-day Russian election that is almost certain to hand President Vladimir Putin six more years at the helm of the world's biggest nuclear power.

Having survived a poisoning attempt in 2020, Navalny, who was 47 and Putin's most prominent critic when he died a month ago, was serving sentences of over 30 years on fraud, extremism and other charges that he said were trumped up to silence him.

Russian authorities issued a death certificate stating that he died of natural causes. Navalny's followers believe he was killed by the authorities, which the Kremlin denies.

Eight European countries initially wrote to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in February asking for sanctions on Russian prosecutors, courts and penitentiary officials over Navalny's death.

"I think you will see political agreement when it comes to

sanctions against persons that were involved in the death of Navalny," one senior EU diplomat told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the topic's sensitivity.

Two other diplomats also said they expected a political decision by the ministers although for technical reasons the measures would not be legally adopted until a later date.

(Reporting by Andrew Gray and John Irish; editing by Mark Heinrich)